FTSE starts week barely higher but European bourses fall

The FTSE started the week barely higher while European bourses slipped on opening as markets remain worried about the direction the trade tensions between China and the US are taking. The dispute between the two countries escalated over the weekend with China introducing duties on imports of crude oil from the US, sending global oil prices onto a downward path.

The FTSE started the week barely higher while European bourses slipped on opening as markets remain worried about the direction the trade tensions between China and the US are taking. 

The dispute between the two countries escalated over the weekend with China introducing duties on imports of crude oil from the US, sending global oil prices onto a downward path.

The move comes in response to President Donald Trump signing off $50 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports and the tit-for-tat is unlikely to end here. 

The markets are now bracing themselves for Trump’s next move which is unlikely to be conciliatory.

US oil prices fall as China takes shot at US imports

With China being the main importer of US crude oil domestic US oil prices reacted immediately. The benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate oil contract dropped to $63.59, the lowest level since April. 

The decline comes into an already falling oil market where prices have been heading south after both Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world’s two largest producers, increased production over the last six weeks. 

The oil price trend is unlikely to change over the next few days as the oil cartel OPEC is due to meet in Vienna later this week and is widely expected to announce further production increases.

Virgin-CYBG deal to create Britain’s sixth largest bank

CYBG banking group, the owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank, has been successful in closing a deal to buy Virgin Money. 

The £1.7 billion acquisition will create Britain's sixth-largest bank which will be double the size of its nearest rival and a competitor to the UK’s four largest lenders. 

The banks will keep the recognizable Virgin brand name while Virgin’s chief executive Jayne-Anne Ghadia will remain in the group as a senior advisor.

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